Traverse City Record-Eagle

Feature Columnists

October 10, 2013

Intentional Minimalist: The versatile potato

With more than 4,000 varieties, potatoes are incredibly versatile. Potatoes are accused of being fattening, but they’re really not. Potatoes are rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron.

The calorie culprits are the usual fat-laden extras added to potatoes during the cooking process.

When at the farmers market, look for potatoes with tight skin and no blemishes or sprouts. Store potatoes in a cool, well ventilated area away from light and do not refrigerate your potatoes or store them in plastic bags. When stored properly, potatoes will last for two to three months.

Farm-to-table enthusiasts have available an online “What’s in Season” feature of the Taste the Local Difference Food & Farm Guide at It is available in print form, or online where you can search for what produce is in season, see what farmers markets are open or download their new smartphone apps. The Taste the Local Difference program connects consumers in northwest lower Michigan to local food, farms, farmers markets, restaurants and businesses.

Enjoy a new take on the old potato soup recipe that is low in fat and high in flavor.

Potato, Leek and Cilantro Soup

Homemade green onion infused olive oil

Farm fresh local garlic

Farm fresh local red potatoes

Sea salt

Farm fresh local leeks

Farm fresh local cilantro

White pepper

Ground pepper

Smoked paprika

Ingredient Note: This recipe features local produce from 9 Bean Rows Farm, Birch Point Farm and Spring Hollow Farm. A wide variety of infused olive oils can be purchased at grocery stores, specialty food stores or if you are an adventurous home cook you can make your own. Regular olive oil may substituted for the infused olive oil used in this recipe.

Peel and mince four cloves garlic. Cook garlic cloves in one tablespoon green onion infused olive oil in a medium metal soup pot for two minutes over medium heat. Wash, dry and chop four cups red potatoes. Add red potatoes to soup pot with one half teaspoon salt, one cup water and cook for five minutes with the lid off over medium heat. Add four cups water to soup pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook covered for fifteen minutes.

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